Forex Trading in New Zealand and FSPR Forex Brokers
Forex trading has become a very popular form of investment in New Zealand. Much like many other countries around the world the introduction of online trading has made this form of investment very accessible for ordinary people. There are a number of other reasons for its popularity including the small number of entry barriers as well as its close proximity to the Asia-Pacific region. The official body responsible for the regulation of all financial services providers, including Forex brokers, in New Zealand is the Financial Markets Authority. However, any provider wanting to offer its services to New Zealanders must also register with the Financial Services Complaints Agency and the FSPR. Otherwise known as the Financial Service Providers’ Register, it is a database that includes the names of all regulated companies offering services in New Zealand, whether they are FSPR-regulated brokers or entities authorised by another regulatory body.
A brief introduction to the FSPR
The Financial Service Providers’ Register was introduced in 2010, following a repeal of New Zealand’s 1995 Bank Act. It enabled over-the-counter brokerage firms that were unregulated, as well as new start-ups, to gain customer confidence and credibility, without the worry of complying with regulatory barriers imposed in a number of other countries. Offshore brokers were able to become FSPR-registered brokers, but without the requirements imposed by other regulatory bodies; for example, regulatory requirements relating to minimum capital requirements, qualification requirements, and supervision. Obviously, this makes New Zealand seem rather lax for Forex traders, who might consider the situation a little riskier than they would really like. There is some good news though. Requirements have been tightened up, and it is now more of a level playing field.
FSPR Forex brokers are required to do the following:
While the situation may have been a little different for Forex brokers in New Zealand in the past, a tightening up of the regulations is providing traders with a much better level of protection. New requirements were introduced in 2013, including the following:
- Any FSPR-regulated broker has to have a physical presence in New Zealand.
- There must be a compliance officer working in the office.
- There have to be client records, and the office has to be able to handle issues relating to the prevention of money laundering.
- All companies appearing in the FSPR have to be a registered corporation and comply with New Zealand business laws.
The change in requirements may have been welcomed by many, but a number of brokerage firms lost their registered status as they were unwilling or unable to comply.
What kind of protection does the FSPR offer?
The general consensus is that being FSPR-registered will not offer investors much protection for their funds, and certainly far less protection than a broker regulated by a more reputable regulatory body. Nevertheless, it is going to be a far safer option than choosing an unregulated broker. A certain level is provided because registered companies have to be inspected and audited, and be a signed up to an approved dispute resolution service. The service doesn’t have to have an association with the government, but it does have to be approved by the Department of Consumer Affairs.
It’s also pertinent to mention that choosing an FSPR-regulated broker will mean that you will be provided with far less protection than if you were to choose a broker regulated by a far stricter agency. Those of you trading Forex in New Zealand should seriously consider a broker licensed by the FMA.
The role of the FMA and Forex trading in New Zealand
The government agency in New Zealand in charge of regulating the financial services industry is the Financial Markets Authority (FMA). It was established in 2011, with the aim of restoring the confidence of investors. This was necessary because of the global financial crisis and the failure of many New Zealand companies.
The FMA enforces the law relating to securities, financial companies and reporting requirements in the financial services and securities markets. The type of services it is responsible for include financial brokers and advisers, trustees, securities exchanges and issuers. The Authority is a member of a number of other organisations such as the International Organisation of Securities Commissions, the New Zealand Council of Financial Regulators, the New Zealand Treasury, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
The Authority has a number of important aims: It is concerned with promoting and developing efficient, transparent and fair financial markets. It is known for its commitment to taking strong action when firms are found to be breaking the law or failing to meet certain standards.
What to do if you have a complaint to make regarding an FSPR-regulated broker
Part of the requirements imposed on FSPR Forex brokers is the need to be registered with an approved dispute resolution service under Section 48 of the Financial Service Providers (Registration and Dispute Resolution) Act 2008. This requirement is mandatory for all financial service providers, and it gives consumers a course of action to follow when redress is needed because of a dispute.
Your first step will always be to try and resolve the problem directly with the financial services provider. If you are unable to reach a satisfactory conclusion you will then be able to contact their dispute resolution scheme and follow the appropriate complaints procedure. There are a number of different schemes a provider is able to use. For example, there is the Insurance and Financial Services Ombudsman, Financial Services Complaints Ltd, the Banking Ombudsman, or the Financial Dispute Resolution Service.
It is also possible for complaints to be lodged with the FMA. They will investigate and take enforcement action regarding the following:
- The conduct of all businesses they license and authorise
- Illegal investment schemes and offers
- “Shell” companies incorporated in New Zealand
- Financial service providers that aren’t registered
- Investment advertising that is misleading
- Unfair dealing
- Complaints about the work of the FMA